Charles Oakley’s assault charges stemming from an verbal altercation last year at Madison Square Garden have been dismissed. Oakley, who is a former American professional basketball player, was at one time a member of the New York Knicks and is now considered by many to be a Knicks’ legend. He also played for the Chicago Bulls, Houston Rockets, Washington Wizards, and Toronto Raptors during his stint as a professional basketball player. His position was as power forward and he was one of the league’s best rebounders in history.
It was around the first of last year when the former Knicks player was involved in an unpleasant incident at MSG in which he was removed by force by several of the arena’s security guards. Apparently, Oakley had engaged in an quarrel with James Dolan, who is the owner of the Knicks, presumably over the team’s poor playing.
What has happened since is a year-long legal battle that is still just now reaching a partial conclusion. Oakley was banned by court back in August from being able to enter MSG for a year, which really didn’t seem to matter to Oakley very much. This past Friday, however, a New York court dismissed the misdemeanor assault charges. This action clears Oakley of doing anything illegal. Furthermore, the Manhattan judge also stated that in addition to the charges being dismissed, they would also be sealed.
When charges against Oakley had first been brought, the judge had then told him if he’d stay out of trouble for six months, that the charges would be dismissed and sealed. Oakley accepted these conditions as he would not have to plead guilty as a part of the terms. However, he does still have another six months before being able to return to MSG.
Many had hopped the dismissal of his charges would bring an end to this ugly feud, but that’s not to be the case. Oakley has filed suit against Dolan, claiming defamation of character. Apparently, during the verbal altercation, Dolan made allusions to Oakley, suggesting he was an alcoholic and/or suffered from mental health issues. Oakley claims these references about him defamed his character and damaged his reputation.
In addition, the suit also names MSG as a defendant as well. This is in reference to MSG releasing an official statement in which they insinuated Oakley had problems with alcohol and that it was these issues which was at the bottom of the altercation. Dolan then backed MSG’s statement later once he had decided to ban Oakley during an unusual radio interview.
Oakley was able to accept a plea deal in which he would not have to plead guilty and, after not getting in any more trouble since, the charges have been not only been dropped, but also sealed, but it’s clear he hasn’t forgotten what both MSG and Dolan alleged about him and he’s just not willing to let it drop. The allegations laid out by his lawsuit alleges that both MSG and Dolan made a defamatory and coordinated attack on him and without cause or reason, accused him of being an alcoholic, abusing staff and fans, and acting inappropriately in a public arena.
Dolan nor MSG have responded to these allegations, but it’s clear to see that this battle is just getting started.